Microworkz, a controversial pioneer of ultra low cost PCs, is looking for a new chief executive to run the company, following Rick Latman, its founder's decision to assume the role of chairman.
Latman explained: "We have grown remarkably fast, perhaps too fast, and it's time for a more seasoned management influence to take hold. Microworkz.com is beginning to outgrow the start-up mode and it is crucial that our internal systems and controls develop within the context of a larger company."
But Latman's move comes less than two weeks after Microworkz started accepting orders over the Internet for its $199 iToaster PC.
The iToaster does not run the Windows operating system or include a monitor, but the company claims that if users purchase one, they will receive free Internet access "for the life of the machine". It refused to confirm reports that it ran the BeOS, however.
But although Microworkz claims to have the personnel and capacity to assemble 200,000 machines a month, according to US reports, employees have attested that many claims made by the firm, including the number of orders received for machines, were exaggerated.
And its track record to date has been less than perfect.
The organisation's inability to fulfill orders for its previous range of $299 Webzster machines led to a flood of complaints at the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau, which serves Oregon and Western Washington, and a Bureau spokeswoman said on Friday that the volume of complaints "definitely hasn't slowed down from a couple of months ago."
In addition, Earthlink, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that Microworkz hired to supply Internet access for its machines, has also threatened to sue it over non payment. Earlier this month, Microworkz ditched Earthlink to sign with telecoms giant, AT&T.
Although Microworkz only recently become a hardware vendor, it was set up in 1991. But US TV network, MSNBC, which is partly owned by Microsoft, has carried out an investigation into Latman, which revealed that he had already failed in such business ventures as the creation of an adult Web site and a bridal clothing company.
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